Extraordinary Women Doing Ordinary Things, COSROW 2013

published 2/6/2013

(Ruth Ann Powers) - It was with a rousing send-off that the COSROW Event of 2013 began. The participants came together with joy and sadness to honor Dawn Wiggins Hare. Dawn has been selected to serve as the General Secretary of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women and will work out of her office in Chicago.

According to our research, Dawn Wiggins Hare is the only member of the Alabama-West Florida Conference who has ever been named to be the chief executive officer of a General Church Agency.

Friends and colleagues spoke of her leadership, her advancements for women in her work and their love and appreciation for her guidance. Gifts were presented to Dawn for her office and depicted some of the symbols COSROW uses in its work. Dawn also received some personal gifts from friends.

Sandra Ruby, the facilitator for the event, presented Dawn with a book that tells the history leading up to the General Conference's delegating the General Commission, and recognizing many of the women who led the charge to have clergywomen approved for service and who worked for years to have GCSRW as a part of the General Church. She also presented a paten and chalice that was designed for the Assembly of 1986 and made by the Marshall Company in Indiana, Sandra's home state.

The ceremony ended with a litany written in Dawn's honor. In celebration of Dawn’s new role, Julia Norton presented a beautifully decorated cake that everyone enjoyed. What a terrific way to begin COSROW's weekend together!

After the break, the sessions began. Sandra Ruby brought lessons and discussion periods about familiar stories from the Bible with a whole new perspective, in line with the event’s theme, “Extraordinary Women Doing Ordinary Things.”

From the discussions came great ideas and action plans for Alabama-West Florida Conference COSROW. Participants volunteered to fill various roles to help promote women’s leadership and equality in the conference: to be district COSROW leaders; to work with Wesley Foundation chapters throughout the conference; and to plan new COSROW events. Volunteers also signed up to help with COSROW’s traditional activities, including the Alice Lee Award, the Jane Walker Scholarship, and the Annual Conference breakfast and monitoring of Annual Conference sessions.

COSROW extends an invitation to all people in the annual conference and beyond to mark their calendars for the 2014 event tentatively planned for January 24- 25, 2014. More news will follow throughout the year. Plan now to join us.

Click here for photographs from the event.


Glory Sighting: God is at work in Plantersville and Jones

published 2/6/2013

(Rev. Butch Cousins) - When I was assigned to be the pastor at Plantersville United Methodist Church and the pastor of Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church things did not look very promising.

Plantersville was in a state of decline and the handful of members were concentrating on keeping the doors open. We began praying for God to show His awesome power and lead this congregation into a closer relationship of service to Him and the community. A few months later, we were given the deed to a community center building that had been closed for several years. I contacted other pastors and community leaders and asked for input on how we could use this building to serve the whole community. A few days later I was approached by an old friend (Jolene Kearns), whom I have known for 25 years, about starting a mobile pantry program through the Montgomery area food bank. We began holding mobile pantries every time we could get one. These mobile pantries gave approximately 125 pounds of food to 125-175 families each time. The cost to us was $250.00 for about 20-22 thousand dollars of food. The program was such a success that the community became excited and we formed a coalition of five churches, which became IMPAC (T) The Intentional Mission of the Plantersville Area Churches. A 501c3 public charity whose stated primary objective was to make an Impact because of the Cross. The members of Plantersville UMC and the surrounding churches suddenly had a mission other than keeping the doors open and people began joining the churches and the mission. One more way that God revealed His glory to us was that the building needed a new roof, estimated cost $16,000.00 we had $3,000 on hand. Working through a great company in Alabama Steel and the wonderful ministry of the Chilton County Carpenters for Christ a new roof was installed for $2,300. God continues to bless Plantersville UMC because of the service to the community started there through the vision of the members and the wonderful help of A.D. (Dayton) Lovelady who was instrumental in getting the building which was after his going home was named A.D.Lovelady Center.

In Jones, Pleasant Valley UMC had slowly lost members from family who had gone home or moved from the area until only three remained. With a membership roll of 25-30, only three people attended worship service and Sunday school each Sunday. Their faithfulness was and still is incredible. Mrs Catherine Colee, her brother Bob Ed Reed and his wife Golda were there every Sunday. We worshipped and prayed each Sunday for God to bless us with new members. This faithful practice continued from 2007 until 2012 when God chose to answer our prayers. First a couple of members came back, then one person joined then another then two families and soon we were having 12-15 every Sunday. We had a young couple join and a few months ago the first baby was born into this church in 39 years. God continues to bless and on Sunday before Christmas 2012 we were blessed to have 37 people in attendance. When we are faithful to God He is more faithful to us. 


Ultimate Training Event to Prepare Youth Leaders in AWF

published 2/6/2013

Nick Mielke, Director of Youth at Prattville First United Methodist Church, talks with us about the upcoming Ultimate Training Event in Youth Ministry and what conference attendees can expect. 

Q: Tell me a little bit about Ultimate Training for Youth Ministry and its history within the AWF Conference.
Ultimate Training Event started in the early 1990's under the leadership of Greg McKinnon. It was designed to be, and still is, an accessible way for churches to send all manner of people who work with youth for a day of training and expertise. Much of the training is provided by veteran youth leaders from around the conference. This model of peer training helps in that the people leading the seminars have "been there" and understand where you are coming from. UTE died out for a period of time in the early to mid-2000's but is back and better than ever.

Q: How did you get involved with leading and organizing this event?
During the two years that I worked as Director of Youth Ministries for our conference there was a call from youth workers throughout the conference for a training event of some kind that was accessible to churches of all sizes. With the help of many great youth leaders in our conference (in particular Jeremy Steele at Christ UMC, Mobile) we were able to get it started back up again. One of the ideas was to host it in different parts of the conference, with the three most recent being in Mobile, and so this year we offered to host at First Methodist in Prattville.

Q: Who all can and should come to this event?
This event is aimed at youth workers of all stripes. Full-time veteran professionals, part-time, volunteers, interns, small group leaders, and more. The keynote sessions and seminars offer something for everyone. If this is your first youth ministry job or you've been doing it for 15 years you will come away with valuable training and information.

Q: Give us the details on this event should someone want to register.
UTE will take place on Saturday March 16, 2013 at First United Methodist Church in historic downtown Prattville, Alabama. The event starts at 9:00 a.m. that morning (with check-in and coffee and donuts starting at 8:00 a.m.) and will be finished about 4:00 p.m. to leave time for attendees to drive home. The cost is $20 per person and includes lunch. There will be opening and closing times of worship as well as our keynote speaker. There will also be 16 seminar options throughout the day covering a range of topics. More information can be found here and registration is available here.

Q: What new things can people expect that might have previously attended this gathering?
As we continue to grow and relaunch Ultimate Training Event we hope that youth workers will find seminars that speak to the unique needs of their ministries. At the same time we hope that our worship and keynote speakers allow them the opportunity to be reenergized for this important job that they all do.

Q: I know you have speakers and sessions lined up. What is the format and who all will be leading the training?
Our keynote speaker, Lane Davis, is the Director of Youth Ministries at Dunwoody UMC outside of Atlanta. Lane grew up in our conference and is on track to be commissioned and ordained as an elder in the North Georgia Conference this summer. He is a graduate of Huntingdon College and Harvard Divinity School. He will be speaking at both of our main worship times as well as leading seminars. Other seminars will be led by a host of Youth Ministry professionals from around the Alabama-West Florida Conference as well as senior pastors, college professors and more.

Q: Will participants have the chance to interact with others that day and learn/share about what's working at their church in youth ministry?
There will certainly be time to make contact with the other participants to UTE especially as we gather that morning before it all kicks off as well as during lunch.

Q: As a youth director yourself, what things have you learned from attending a training like this?
Events like this have been invaluable to me over the course of my career because I am always able to connect with someone who knows what I'm dealing with. We all have unique churches, groups, etc...but there is always someone else who has had a shared experience similar to mine and being able to talk to them and learn from them makes it totally worthwhile.

Q: Anything else we should know?
We are very excited to be hosting UTE at FUMC in Prattville and sincerely hope as many of you can make it as possible to this great day of worship, training, and youth worker fellowship. See you on March 16!  




published 1/28/2013

The CATAPULT conference returns on April 29-May 1 at Christ United Methodist Church in Mobile, AL. CATAPULT's goal is to launch leaders into Kingdom mission. More and more, we see the need to understand all Christians as missionaries. CATAPULT equips for that mission. Through inspiring talks during Community Sessions by leading voices in the missional movement, you will be encouraged and challenged to see where God is already at work right around you. Through helpful nuts and bolts teaching during Breakout Sessions by active and effective practitioners, you will be given tools to accomplish the dreams God is planting.

Over the past several years, your support of CATAPULT has allowed thousands of dollars to be given through CATAPULT grants. Several of these grants were the fulfillment of missional imagination cultivated at the conference. Feeding ministries, GED training, archery courses, among others, have allowed local churches to connect with and build relationships with new people in efforts to make new disciples of Jesus Christ.

Our announced speaker list is exciting. The Rev. Rudy Rasmus of St. John UMC in Houston led an inner city church toward renewal through serving new and more diverse people. The Rev. Becca Stevens is an author, chaplain, and founder of Magdalene House and Thistle Farms, a home for women and social enterprise. Hugh Halter has been a significant voice in the missional movement for over a decade. He is the lead pastor at Adullum in Denver as well as a co-author of The Tangible Kingdom.

For the announcements of remaining speakers, like the CATAPULT Facebook page. You can also follow CATAPULT on Twitter.

Registration is open now at! Individuals register for $119 through April 14. Bring three from your church or neighborhood and get a $30 discount on each registration.


Standing Rules, Resolutions and Petitions & Brochure of Reports Deadlines Approaching

published 1/25/2013

To: Members and friends of the Alabama West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church:

Greetings in the name of Christ. As preparations are underway for the 2013 meeting of Annual Conference June 2-5 at Christ UMC in Mobile, Alabama, the Committee on Standing Rules will be looking at proposed changes to these rules; you will find them listed on pages 258-267 of our 2012 Journal. If you do not have a printed Journal, you may view it online here

Let me alert you to these upcoming deadlines, which are in our current Standing Rules:
• Any proposed changes in the Standing Rules should be received in writing by the chairperson of the Committee on Standing Rules no later than February 1. You may submit these by e-mail to, or by mailing proposed changes to Robin Wilson 1507 Dauphin St, Mobile, AL 36604.
Resolutions shall be submitted to the Committee on Resolutions and Petitions by February 15, except in cases where it can be demonstrated by the author of a late petition that the situation which gave rise to making the petition was not apparent until after the deadline for petitions. The Chairperson of this Committee is Rev. Kathy Knight.
• Materials and reports to be included in the Brochure of Reports shall be in the hands of the Journal editor NO LATER THAN the last Monday in February (Feb 25, 2013). The Journal Editor is Jackie Slaughter. Please send any materials to

If you have questions or changes, do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you for your excellent service to God and for your work for the Kingdom.


Robin C. Wilson

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